A medical team from Shriners Hospitals for Children and representatives from The Carter Center recently returned from conducting their first joint pediatric screening clinic in Haiti, according to a press release from Shriners Hospital for Children.
Hosted by St. Boniface Hospital in Fond des Blancs, Haiti, Shriners Hospitals physicians evaluated children from the far reaches of the island nation for orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.
The Carter Center helped organize this medical mission, working directly with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Disabilities of the Government of Haiti for approval. Additionally, they introduced Shriners Hospitals to leadership at St. Boniface Hospital who hosted the screening and promoted its availability to Haitian families who otherwise would not have access to this type of expert pediatric specialty care, the press release notes.
During the two-day event, led by Shriners Hospitals for Children’s chief medical officer Kenneth Guidera, MD, medical staff met with children and their parents at St. Boniface Hospital. Children were screened and if necessary, provided treatment plans that included follow-up by doctors at St. Boniface Hospital, in-country physical therapy or surgery by Shriners Hospitals doctors during a planned return trip. Several children with more complex conditions were recommended for treatment at one of the 20 Shriners Hospitals for Children locations in the United States.
“We want to thank the government of Haiti, The Carter Center and our wonderful hosts St. Boniface Hospital for allowing Shriners Hospitals for Children to extend our medical knowledge to the children of Haiti,” said Jerry Gantt, chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Gantt added, “Limited prenatal care and resources for treatment of birth defects in Haiti has complicated many of these cases.”
“This was an excellent first step for Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Carter Center to bring help to the children in Haiti,“ said Guidera. “It was a great honor to reach into the poorest of countries to treat the neediest of children.”
The organizations are planning a return trip to Haiti where they will conduct surgeries and other follow-up care for children screened during the initial event. Shriners Hospitals will also provide additional training to doctors and nurses of St. Boniface Hospital so more treatments and follow-up care can be done in-country by their staff, according to the press release.